Tonight I am incredibly thankful for an awesome crisis nurse who was patient, compassionate and funny over the phone to me both in the middle and right at the very end of her 15 hour shift today. She likely was in charge for most or all of the day, so goodness knows the strains she’s had to deal with over that very long shift, when the crisis team are the only mental health service available. She’s also one of the professionals who’s had to deal with the very worst aspects of my care, including a tense assessment in intensive care and a current ‘Root Cause Analysis’ investigation about how I came so very close to successfully ending my life under their collective care – I imagine not a pleasant process – so it’s even more significant to me that she’s able to still do her job with kindness and professionalism, unlike some of her colleagues who have held it against me/called me stupid/told me I’m selfish.
I meant to write about the excellent support she and some of her colleagues had provided me a few weeks ago, but things have remained very difficult and I haven’t managed to gather my thoughts enough to do so. My head still isn’t there for any meaningful writing, but I just want to say an ENORMOUS thank you to those mental health professionals who make a difference. Truly, I can never really explain the value of what you do, but – in my case – those hours that you’ve spent challenging my never-ending stream of self-destructive/negative/guilt-ridden thoughts, reminding me that ‘you’ (as part of your team and the wider system) believe in me, arguing with my extreme pessimism, teasing honesty out of me when I try to protect you from it, and simply making me laugh…that is what makes the difference; you are what make the difference.
In a system and profession that stretches you to your limits, forces decisions, pushes for unrealistic targets, takes away humanity from the task at hand and blames you when things go wrong; it is people like you who change and save lives. And it is appreciated. We might not always be able or know how to say it, but I’m sure I speak for many of your service users when I say a huge THANK YOU to each and every mental health worker who manages to bring empathy, patience, kindness, hope and compassion to their work: you are the real superheroes.